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Daylily dreaming

Daylily dreaming

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Many locals will recognize Jeremy and Crystal Herman from the Fredericktown Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings, but what you may not know is they opened a daylily garden just a few miles off Highway OO between Fredericktown and Farmington.

The plan was always to open the garden in a few years, closer to retirement, but the opportunity presented itself much sooner than planned. So now, Jeremy, Crystal and their two children, Zechariah, 8, and Beulah, 5, look after the more than 700 named varieties and 1,000's of unregistered seedlings. 

"I have been collecting daylilies for some time and was planning on opening a daylily garden in several years," Jeremy said. "I was presented with the opportunity to purchase all the sale beds from Daylillies of the Valley that Karen Sherrill owned. At first I was hesitant, but after discussing this with my wife, we decided to jump in right away. I had already been adding more and more flowerbeds every year to my property, so this just accelerated the plan."

Crystal said, it took Jeremy 19 trips to Arcadia Valley with his trailer full to bring back all the plants. 

This was how Dreamland Daylillies, LLC, was born. 

"Daylilies have always been one of my favorite flowers," Jeremy said. "They are also easy to grow. They prefer full sun but will tolerate full shade. It is also one that enjoys the hot and humid summers."

Jeremy said, once a daylily is established it requires very little care.

"Daylilies are a perennial and come back every year," Jeremy said. "I enjoy the look of all the different types out there. There are daylilies that are short and some tall. There are miniature to extra-large varieties. The blooms may only last one day, but most have several buds."

The Hermans took 11 scapes, or flower stalks, to the Daylily Exhibition hosted by Daylily Social in coordination with the American Daylily Society, June 26 in Worden, Illinois. 

"This was my first contest, and I mainly went for the experience," Jeremy said. "With it being my first show, I expected not to do very well. Three had broken on my way to the contest."

Despite his low expectations, two of the entries received purple ribbons meaning the flower and scape had very few imperfections and scored 95 points out of 100. 

In total, Jeremy brought home 2 purple, 5 blue and 3 red ribbons from the event along with lots of pointers to help him out at the next competition.

The top prize of best in section is a tough spot to achieve. Jeremy said all scapes that receive a purple ribbon are up for the title and judged against each other.

"The judges look at the scape and the flower," Jeremy said. "Any imperfections are deductions. To win best in show, they compare all of the section winners. The judges have to be very particular in this category."

Jeremy said the challenge is to make sure your scape has no damage from bugs or stress.

"The scape also needs to show no brown leaves or old buds, while also making sure the bloom is open correctly," Jeremy said. "This summer has been tough to make sure the daylilies have had adequate water."  

Dreamland Daylillies may not have taken away best of show, but for its first competition the family members left with their heads held very high.

Some ways Jeremy plans to get a petal ahead off the competition is by creating new varieties and by hybridizing some of his daylilies.

"I am looking at creating varieties that have several buds, branching and reblooming," Jeremy said. "This will look like they are always in bloom for the season. I am also trying to create daylilies that are unique and are different colors. I like to see different types of edges and eyes."

Jeremy said, right now he has a few daylilies which he has hybridized, blooming in his garden but are not registered yet.

"I am looking at registering one next year," Jeremy said. "I have several seedlings that Karen hybridized in the garden now and have hybridized more myself this year than in years past."

The process is not a quick one, as Jeremy said he plans to plant around 1,000 seeds this winter and it will take two years for them to bloom.

"Once they bloom, the seedlings go into evaluation and observation to determine if they have desirable features for registration," Jeremy said. "Seedlings will remain under evaluation for three years or more. During this time, hybridizers will collect statistics that will help with the registration process."

Dreamland Daylillies is a license and inspected Missouri garden and Jeremy is a member of the American Daylily Society, Mineral Area Hemerocallis Society, and the Greater St. Louis Daylily Society. 

If you would like to visit Dreamland Daylillies, located at 1100 Meadowbrook Ct, Farmington, it is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday through Friday. 

Jeremy said, it is past peak blooming season, second or third week in June, but there are still late varieties blooming as well as some reblooming.

"We encourage visitors to come even if they have no intention of purchasing," Jeremy said. "We believe that the beauty of daylilies is meant to be shared with everyone. However, if visitors would desire to purchase, we are both ready to help and guide them in their selection."

If visitors would desire to purchase, the cost is $3 and up. The garden asks that all visitors respect the daylilies and not remove any old blooms. Jeremy said he may have seed pods on some of the plants. 

There are also display beds around the garden which are part of the Herman's personal collection and are not for sale.

There is also a pirate ship playground and swing set for kids and adults to enjoy during their visit. Visitors are also welcome to take pictures. Jeremy said he has had families come out to take pictures of their children with the daylilies.  

Jeremy and Crystal can be found at the farmers market in Fredericktown and Farmington on most Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons in Farmington. If you have any questions you can find them on Facebook at Dreamland Daylillies LLC and gardens, on their website at dreamlanddaylillies.com or you can call Jeremy at 573-883-0655

Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Democrat News. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at vkemper@democratnewsonline.com

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